The incredible diversity of India is shaped by the grammar of its geography, its peoples, its religious roots, its cultural richness, its natural treasures and monumental heritage, amongst other things. Even just dipping under the surface of this experiential landscape reveals only a small fraction of its allurements this ancient country holds for you as a traveller. Let’s be wildly brave and just plunge into this exercise by showcasing at least 5 You Won’t Forget Me’ Faces Of India.
The Taj Mahal
Sentimentally, observed as ‘a teardrop on the cheek of time’ this grand monument to love in India is truly one of the new world’s unforgettable wonders. The superlative beauty and limitless charms of the Taj Mahal, in the city of Agra, have captured the imagination and pulled at the hearts strings of both kings and commoner down the centuries. Raised in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal by legendary Mughal Emperor Shahjehan, long remembered for his astonishing architectural contributions to India, the Taj is best viewed in the flush of a rosy dawn or in the romance of moonlight and shadows of a full moon night. This is one of the many faces of India travellers from around the globe will carve in stone in their memory banks forever.
A far cry from the Mughal endeavours in India’s north, Goa shares the history and heritage of its Portuguese spirit, embedded over a 400 years by these western conquerors who were originally drawn to India for its huge trading potential–and of course to convert the local ‘heathens’ to Christianity. The striking beauty of the churches in Old Goa offers an inspirational experience of just one of the other faces of India. There are 5 unforgettable churches to visit here; the Basilica of Bom Jesus or St. Francis Xavier Church, which houses the mortal remains of St. Francis; St. Francis of Assisi Church of which you won’t forget its superb Corinthian and Baroque architecture, exquisite carved woodwork and stunning frescoes; St. Cajetan Church, which mirrors St. Peter’s Church in Rome; the elegant Chapel of St. Catherine; Se Cathedral which features the Golden Bell, the largest such in Goa.
Be here in the winter months to join in the fantastic spiritual and cultural outpourings of Portuguese Goa in the annual Carnival, another one of India’s amazing faces. The 4-day festivities of rich pageantry, beautiful religious floats, masked and costumed revellers, the music and the dancing and feasting and merrymaking all capture the very essence of Christian Goa’s Mardi Gras. The explosive celebration of indulgences at the beginning of Lent, a time of fasting and abstinence brings to bear the most colourful faces of Goa’s Portuguese roots that are deeply embedded in this part of India’s cultural landscape.
Unwind in the glorious environs of the royal state of Rajasthan, where, as an intrepid traveller you will discover some of the most appealing faces of India. Held in the wintry days of early November the Pushkar Fair, which originally started out as a huge fair to trade livestock, but over time has transformed into a glorious cultural extravaganza, throwing the spotlight on the most thrilling allurements of Rajasthan. From discovering the push and pull of trade for a camel or a horse to joining in a tug-o-war, from gorging on Rajasthani dishes to getting lost in the folk music and dance programmes you know this is one of the faces of India you are very unlikely to forget in a hurry.
High Tea in Coonoor
As one of the world’s leading tea trading countries India offers another alluring aspect of these 5 faces which travellers definitely should explore at close quarters. If you won’t, you will regret missing out on this wonderful experience which can be enjoyed in one of the most picturesque settings of South India. This gourmet tea tasting experience is held amidst a superb tea estate on the slopes of ‘Tenerife Hill’, the highest peak in Coonoor with breath-taking views of the rolling Nilgiri hills. Teas from the Nilgiris are ranked as the third best, after Darjeeling and Assam. You are truly deserving of tasting of the wide range of these gourmet teas considered by many to be amongst the finest teas in the world.
Backwater Story of Kerala
While exploring the narrative–rich backwaters of Kerala by slow boat is an intrinsic agenda for the traveller exploring the many faces of India, look at another angle of this engaging experience in God’s Own Country’. Head for the coastal town of Alleppey, which offers a head’s up for the allure of the backwater journey. This picturesque township is the jump-off point for those lazy-hazy days on the glorious network of 1500 km canals, rivers and five vast lakes, along the Malabar coast that have set in place their own unique eco-system. These waterways have been one of the most important means of connectivity in the hinterland and a lifeline for the villagers on their embankments. The village communities here have adapted their occupations of fishing and rice growing to the brackish waters caused by the mix of fresh river water and the backwash of the salty waters from the sea.
You will love this walking tour of the old quarter and the old wholesale market of Alleppey under the umbrella of The Preserve Alleppey Project. This was started in 2000 by the Lion Ladies Club of Alleppey. Peel back the layers to discover another of these unique faces of India. This Society set up to address the urgent need to preserve the character of the town and Kerala’s natural, idyllic backwaters. Travellers learn all about how this canal system is as important as the ecology of the area and how its preservation has impacted the local environment.
Hurry back as soon as your life permits you to unveil many more faces of India, which will hold you in thrall of this incredible country, each time you visit as a traveller of great curiosity of fresh places and new cultures.